By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – With another outstanding performance, the Brazil beach soccer team had no trouble defeating Switzerland Sunday in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 10-5, in the final of the most important competition in beach soccer: the FIFA World Cup.
The Brazilian “Seleção” was much more experienced than their European rivals, the Swiss team was having their first appearance ever in the competition. The Brazilian squad already had three World Cup titles, and six of their players were entering their fourth World Cup final in a row: Benjamin, Betinho, Buru, Mao, Sidney and André.
Switzerland was the big surprise of the competition, defeating strong teams such as Russia and Uruguay in the playoffs. In the match against Brazil, they placed their bets on striker Dejan Stankovic, who had scored 15 goals in the tournament until that point. However, on Sunday, Stankovic’s performance was below his average, and Brazil’s teamwork overcame Switzerland’s one-man-show strategy.
Even though the Europeans fought bravely, Brazil managed to open up a 8-1 advantage in the first half of the match. In the second half, the Swiss team reacted, but it was too late. In spite of his bad performance, Stankovic scored the last goal for Switzerland, with a header, bringing the final score to 10-5.
“Thanks to God and this wonderful group of players we have been able to win our fourth title. We won because of our togetherness, our respect for each other and the love that there is in the camp, and this fourth title is reward for all our hard work. We’d like to dedicate it to our families, the people of Brazil and to everyone who has supported us along the way,” said Benjamin, Brazilian captain.
Stankovic won individual prizes for his performance through the competition: the Adidas Golden Ball, given to the ‘most outstanding player of the tournament’, and the Adidas Golden Shoe, given to the top scorer. The Adidas Golden Glove was claimed by Brazilian goalkeeper Mão.
Meanwhile, Portugal defeated Uruguay by 14-7 to claim bronze in the World Cup, the highest-scoring match in Beach Soccer World Cup history.
It is the fourth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup title in a row for Brazil in the short five-year existence of the competition. In 2005, even though Brazil was the home team and were clear favorites, France was the winner, and Brazil was only third. In the four following years, however, the South American team was champion.
The first three editions of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup (2005, 2006 and 2007) happened at the Copacabana Beach, in Rio de Janeiro. In 2008, the competition moved to Prado Beach, in Marseille, France, and this year it was held at the Jumeirah Beach, in Dubai.